The Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot of problems, and one of them is that the are capped out.
The Toronto Maple Leafs do not have any cap space, and in fact, are well over the cap and only able to get under it because they have several players on the long-term injured reserve.
However, this doesn't have to be the case.
The Toronto Maple Leafs can have almost unlimited cap-space if they want it. That is because they have nearly $20 million dollars going to replacement players. Siince it is reasonable to expected that any trades they make will be money-in-money out dollar-for-dollar, they should have enough cap space to do whatever they want. Especially because, with the exception of David Kampf, none of the players listed below have any term on their contracts beyond this season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs Essentially Have Unlimited Cap Space
Max Domi is one-dimensional to a fault, and even though he can make some nice plays, he makes $3 million dollars which could be better spent.
Domi has a 48% Xgoals rating even though he plays super-sheltered minutes. I feel confident that bad defense and a half-point per game can be had a lot cheaper than $3 million.
TJ Brodie makes $5 million and shouldn't be playing on a Cup Contender's roster anymore. He had a nice run, but his decline is painful to watch. You can't have a 48% player on your top pair.
David Kampf and Ryan Reaves are both ineffective players. They were mistakes, and they combine to make the worst and most expensive fourth line in the NHL. Their combined cap hit is $3.75, so basically $4 million dollars completely wasted.
Finally, Ilya Samsonov makes $3.5 million and despite some recent good play, he cannot possibly be trusted to play games that matter for this team.
All together: $15.3 million in players who could be swapped out for any AHL player making the league minimum without anyone noticing much of a difference. That is basically unlimited cap space, and as long as the GM is willing to admit he made a few mistakes and correct them, the Leafs can pretty much do what they want between now and the trade deadline.
Note that this should put to bed the idea that it's bad to pay your stars so much money. The Leafs lack depth because they have $15 million of poorly spent money on their roster, and not a single dollar of that is allotted to one of their stars.
With this much money available, the Leafs can definitely perform surgery on their roster and ice a cup contender in time for the playoffs. Cap space is only a problem if they can't figure out a way to unload the duds from their roster.
With this much money, they could easily acquire the goalie and defenseman needed to take them all the way.